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Taco driving jeep wheeler
1991 XJ
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121 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So as I’ve been working on my jeep I’ve been thinking (with a family now) I should probably look into a winch to be better prepared for getting stuck. I’m not going to be going anywhere extreme at this point, just getting myself and the family out. I don’t have a huge budget for a winch and I’ve noticed pretty much everything $500 and under seems to be made in China. So any recommendations? I’m thinking 500 is probably about my cap. I could swing a warn VR series, but of course they are made in China as well- warranty seems to be pretty darn good on them though. I had pretty much ruled out harbor freight because of the 90 day warranty, but I started watching Matt’s off-road recovery on YouTube and they seem to use the heck out of their HF winches.
 

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Taco driving jeep wheeler
1991 XJ
Joined
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121 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·

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Life=Short. Jeeps=Cool
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4,267 Posts
From what I have seen online you can get a 20% off coupon every so often for them that puts the price under $500 and then you have the option of buying the two year warranty for it.

I don't know if you've ever warrantied anything out at harbor freight but they give zero shits, just swap it out at the end of two years

Sent from my SM-G996U using Tapatalk
 

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Taco driving jeep wheeler
1991 XJ
Joined
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121 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
From what I have seen online you can get a 20% off coupon every so often for them that puts the price under $500 and then you have the option of buying the two year warranty for it.

I don't know if you've ever warrantied anything out at harbor freight but they give zero shits, just swap it out at the end of two years

Sent from my SM-G996U using Tapatalk
To be honest I’ve never warrantied anything out at a harbor freight, so that’s good to know it’s no big deal. Which I guess is another big + for harbor freight because I at least have one around where I live, most any other Chinese winch I’d have to get off Amazon. Not a huge deal, but a bit more leg work repackaging to send back.
 

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Yooper In Training
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7,431 Posts
My 15 year old $300 Smittybilt is still kicking the 1 time a year I end up using it. It's slow as shit, but does the job. Seems like some of the newer ones are a big step up too.

Badland winches have been good budget choices for 20+ years and Harbor Freight seems to continually step up their quality on lots of stuff, so I wouldn't hesitate to to that route either.

A friend has a Rough Country winch and is pretty happy with that too.

I bet all 3 of the above are made in the same Chinese factory too so just pick which sticker you like best :ROFLMAO:
 
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Taco driving jeep wheeler
1991 XJ
Joined
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121 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My 15 year old $300 Smittybilt is still kicking the 1 time a year I end up using it. It's slow as shit, but does the job. Seems like some of the newer ones are a big step up too.

Badland winches have been good budget choices for 20+ years and Harbor Freight seems to continually step up their quality on lots of stuff, so I wouldn't hesitate to to that route either.

A friend has a Rough Country winch and is pretty happy with that too.

I bet all 3 of the above are made in the same Chinese factory too so just pick which sticker you like best :ROFLMAO:
Hahah your probably right!
 

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I'm not old, honest...
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30,657 Posts
I don't know that I have seen any modern day winch "fail". For the occasional winching or preparedness that you want, I wouldn't hesitate to put a Harbor Freight winch on. Like John said, his is slow but works.

It was interesting last week in Harlan. We all had to winch up out of a ravine. John's was slow. My Warn 8274 is fast. But then Dale had the new 12,000 8274(or whatever it's called) and it made mine look slow.

But they all got the job done.
 

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Taco driving jeep wheeler
1991 XJ
Joined
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121 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I don't know that I have seen any modern day winch "fail". For the occasional winching or preparedness that you want, I wouldn't hesitate to put a Harbor Freight winch on. Like John said, his is slow but works.

It was interesting last week in Harlan. We all had to winch up out of a ravine. John's was slow. My Warn 8274 is fast. But then Dale had the new 12,000 8274(or whatever it's called) and it made mine look slow.

But they all got the job done.
Good to know on failure rates on modern winches. All I’ve ever been around is hi-lift jacks for recovery, so I have a feeling anything will be a big step up from that.
 

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Taco driving jeep wheeler
1991 XJ
Joined
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121 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the input guys!
When I posted this, my #2 concern besides the price of the winch was the warranty. After seeing some of the feedback so far I’m kinda thinking more on that topic. I can see myself fixing the winch long before trying to warranty broken parts (unless the thing is junk right out of the box). With that said the HF winches are starting to look like a front runner. Is the synthetic winch line a big improvement over cable? I see you can get the apex for $50 less with steel line or the ZXR for around 350 with steel cable.
 

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Yooper In Training
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7,431 Posts
Synthetic all the way, hands down. My winch is still cable simply because I used it so little so I don't really care, but cable sucks. Be careful with abrasion and excessive UV with the synthetic, otherwise it's superior in every way.
 
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Taco driving jeep wheeler
1991 XJ
Joined
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121 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Ok, that sounds like a winner with the HF apex then! Thanks for the input guys! Kinda funny, I thought I was going to catch some hate with suggesting going the harbor freight route. but it sounds like they have a better track record then I was thinking.
 

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Life=Short. Jeeps=Cool
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4,267 Posts
Honestly, my entire garage is stocked with Harbor Freight tools. I don't make my living off of them so I have no problem buying two or three of each item in the event that it breaks. Probably can't apply that to this winch problem but my buddy has had zero issues with the Apex that he bought. Synthetic winch is great, make sure to get yourself some soft shackles as well (amazon has them).
 

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Durango-space-division
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4,634 Posts
I have had a badlands 9k for a few years now, I'm just getting to upgrade it to synthetic line this year. I've had great luck with it, although it's only on a samurai. I've pulled some heavy rigs out with it however, just anchoring the back of my rig to a tree lmao
 

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Life=Short. Jeeps=Cool
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4,267 Posts
I have had a badlands 9k for a few years now, I'm just getting to upgrade it to synthetic line this year. I've had great luck with it, although it's only on a samurai. I've pulled some heavy rigs out with it however, just anchoring the back of my rig to a tree lmao
Trying to stretch it into an actual offroader?

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